After losing a 60 WD in hell, and then his replacement at 59 in hell, I was surprised to find my first Hardcore Monk in Inferno. It’s not easy by any means, and I don’t expect to beat it any time soon, but what do I do once I have?
At the moment my Monk is parked in Act 2. I’m still grinding gear and gold to hopefully have him continue onward in inferno. Yet each upgrade begs to question why keep pushing?
That’s a question I never had to ask in D2. There was always something better, something to push for. If it wasn’t the next level it was some piece of gear for me or for a character I hadn’t created yet. You would defeat hell Diablo/Baal and keep going because you weren’t done. Bosses weren’t a end point but a farming opportunity, and a chance at riches.
As it stands right now D3’s end game for Hardcore is simply finishing it. Being able to say you survived through that hardest difficulty, then starting over on a new character. There is little incentive to try to get better gear, or farm for items you know won’t drop and in a difficulty meant to kill you.
Hardcore and Softcore face the same problems with the endgame. It becomes a game on minimal upgrades and lackluster loot. When I found my first legendary in Inferno it wasn’t a time for celebration but a chance to see just how bad they really are. I’ve been slowly amassing a stockpile of gold and no matter how much I have I still feel too poor to buy what I need. When an upgrade is available it never really seems worth dropping several million for a few more resist or vitality. The reason Hardcore isn’t showing as many signs of atrophy is due to the smaller player base(4.1 %) and even smaller amount in inferno. Less people are in Inferno to see these challenges and as a result the seem less apparent.
However, I will say I am no where near close to finishing Inferno. The difficulty is very challenging and has me constantly questioning my gear and build. I love that. I love that I can’t really feel safe and sleepwalk through it. I also love the diversity of the endgame, I can grind champion packs and face a new challenge each time. Diablo 2’s Mephisto also had the same tricks.
So what would make the hardcore game better?
Now I’m not a game developer, and I have little aspiration to be one, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t put a few ideas out there.
1. Stop fixing little problems
People are farming goblins and barrels? Great let them. People are rushing through the early content? Great let it happen. People are swapping gear to MF? Sounds like they have a system. Stop fixing little things and focus on the grand scale. None of those things help in the long run, and take away from what people are enjoying. Sadly those little fixes also hurt the larger population. I like to grind quests to level for safety, by lowering the xp values I can’t. I like to smash barrels and vases but now I know it’s almost pointless.
2. Get rid of HC enrage timers
Inferno is tough, and we need to gear for survival. However, with Enrage timers we also need to gear for dps. This pigeon holes a lot of players and forces a lot of time incessantly farming to get the perfect gear: Not because you want it but because you need it.
3. Increase drop rates and change legendaries.
A legendary should be one of the best items in the game. A perfectly rolled rare should surpass it but that should be few and far between. Legendaries also serve as break points for characters. If I had X item I could take on Y content. Think of all the times in D2 that you knew once you could toss on your full sigon, or Burizza how you could clear through the next act. Legendaries dropping more also provides incentive to farm. I can’t honestly expect to find anything outside of a rare right now. That in it self makes it hard to go in and grind gear.
4. Decrease difficulty or buff characters
We don’t need to nerf Inferno into oblivion but if it was stock in difficulty through the whole we might have more people venturing into it. I know now that My monk will get slaughtered in Act 2 so I’m idling in Act 1. After months of the beta I find myself running the same content, that’s kinda sad. Or buff our characters, I’ve heard several ideas about this and would love to see some sort of incentive to keep going post 60. Kripp talked about champion levels: A bonus to stats after 5 stacks of neph valor that would be like leveling, but the xp is only gained after downing champion packs. I like this idea but realize it would be a pain to implement. Even if you were gainign a 100xp per pack I guarentee people would grind them and love it. As a result of gaining strenth from this you might then push into higher difficulties/acts.
Rune synergies. What if you could link two runes together and gain their combined bonus? How you implement and how many you could rune are all things to be discussed but having some more firepower or defense would be great and might shake things up a bit.
For myself I’ve decided to take some time to level all the classes to 60 and and get them to inferno. My hope is by the time I accomplish that there might be something that motivates me to push past it.
One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!